The proposal was advanced by Dr. Thomas A. Farley, the city's health commissioner, and Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker.
The bill would work in tandem with a long campaign to limit smoking in the city, which started during Michael Bloomberg's mayorship. Since he took office, the city passed bans on smoking in restaurants and bars and later passed a second ban for parks, beaches, plazas and other public places.
The proposal would make the age for buying tobacco the same as for buying liquor. If passed, the city would have the highest age limit for purchasing cigarettes in the country. Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah and three counties in New York would be second-highest, with 19 as minimum age. The rest of the country -- including New York City -- sets the minimum age at 18.